Monday, October 12, 2009

Star polygons

I was surprised to find that class was cancelled today when I checked blackboard. It is that time of year for the nasty flu to be floating around! Feel better soon, Maria.

I have been exploring star polygons, which are in the activity approach book beginning on page 111. It took me a couple of tries to get the pattern down, but they are fun once you figure them out. It reminds me of the Spirograph toy. My son actually has one right now and we haven't even opened it yet! I checked on you tube for demonstrations of the star polygon, and I found this very cool presentation:

I downloaded inkscape and tried the same demo. I still have some work to do. I can't get the polygon to stay closed, so when I start drawing the lines they continue outside of the points. If anyone else decides to give it a try, let me know how it works out for you! I will try again later!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Check out this method for divisibility by seven!

The divisibility by seven rule that Maria gave us today seems easy compared to this rule: I didn't try it yet, just reading it gives me a headache! Go to this link:
For those of you who didn't take notes on this but are curious how it works, here is by 11.
Divisibility by 11:
Divisibility by 11 is the most interesting of the above tests (7 will be studied below). We do two sums (the odd numbered digits and the even numbered digits), subtract one sum from the other, and see if this is divisible by 11. By the way, if we end up with zero, then that is divisible by 11. We can repeat that process, just as we did with 3. Let's look at an example:
348719033+8+1+0=124+7+9+3=2323-12=11Is divisible by 11
We can, of course, do the summing in different orders. In fact we can just go from left to right adding and subtracting alternate digits: 3-4+8-7+1-9+0-3=-11 (divisible by 11).
Make sure you study the divisibility rules! They will be on the next test!

Prime numbers

As always, today's class was insightful and very helpful. The method that Maria gave us, the sieve of Eratosthenes' was the easiest method I have ever used to identify prime numbers.
Just to review, a prime is a natural number that posesses exactly two different factors, itself and 1. For example, 17 is a prime number because it has exactly two different factors, 17 and 1. 15 is not a prime number, because 15 has more than two factors; 1 and 15, and 3 and 5.
I liked using the blocks today to demonstrate the rectangular array of division. I am a very hands on learner, so manipulating the blocks makes a lot more sense to me than just looking at pictures in a book. I am planning on teaching early elementary, so when I look for links on the web, I tend to look for kid friendlysites. Check out this site for an easy to read chart on prime numbers, as well as many different educational aids for all areas of study!
Have a great evening!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tips for base 5 counting

The introduction of other base systems really makes me appreciate base ten. It certainly takes practice to understand. Using games is a great way to teach new concepts, at any age, as we have found in class. I spend time volunteering in my son's kindergarten class, and the teacher is always using games to teach. It's great because the kids pick up on things quickly and they are not stressed and pressed.
Class on Wednesday was actually a lot of fun. With the continuous cuts that our education system keeps enduring, teachers are given more and more responsibilities with their classes. Many schools are losing extra classes, like physical education, art, music, etc. " Math in Motion" is a way to incorporate physical activity with learning math. I can certainly imagine a group of students, 3rd grade on up, lined up at the whiteboards and competing with addition, subtraction, etc.
When you are reading through section 3.2, check out Math Activity 3.2 on page 142. This would be a great game to play with older elementary kids when they are learning the base 5 system. A little competition is great, and a memorable experience when you are learning something new.
For tips on base five, check out this link:
I found it to be very helpful!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Teaching base ten in kindergarten

In doing the first set of homework problems for 3.1, I laughed a bit and felt a little relief when I encountered #28. The bundles of sticks model found on page 133 in the text is something that my third grade son learned in kindergarten. I thought, hey, if a kindergartener can do it, I most certainly can, of course.
His teacher would begin everyday with calendar, counting, music, etc. They counted the days that they were in school everyday using the bundles of sticks model. It's a great way for the kids to learn the base ten system. With so many things in kindergarten, the way they learn it is like a game to them. My youngest son is now in kindergarten, and thanks to this class, I have a whole new perspective on base ten. I will certainly apply the bundles and sticks method at home with him and challenge my third grader with the base five system and show him the difference number systems that we covered in class today.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Math 105 is actually fun!

Okay, so, I am an English major and math is a subject where I have always had struggles! I am excited to finally be blogging for this class. Maria definitely makes learning math a fun and memorable experience. I remember my high school algebra teacher as a boring, monotone, lecture kind of teacher. I really didn't enjoy math and worked my way through two years of it with lots of help from my now husband. I was in high school in the late 80's, and you couldn't use the internet and pull up Wolfram Alpha to assist you when you couldn't figure out a problem.
So, this class has been a lot of fun so far. I have enjoyed every lecture and walked away feeling like I actually know something about things like Venn diagrams and deductive reasoning. Now, my goal is to put it all together and do well on this first test.
I have two boys- a kindergartener and a third grader. My third grader is a math whiz already (he definitely gets it from his dad). I look forward to working with him and some of the students in his class and blogging about some of my experiences with them!
Blackboard and all of the games and videos that are posted under the virtual classroom are very helpful to me. I find it amazing that I would rather play math learning games rather than check my e-mail or catch up on facebook.
I really liked the IBL activity with the battleship game that Scott presented last week and Tim's logic puzzle that he presented today! Have a good day everyone!